Going through warranty hell. Main breaker is crap, and alternating pairs of breakers are not getting power (so, 50% of appliances/outlets are out).

I've been fighting for a new panel because the panel is ancient with old Crouse Hinds breakers, but now I'm told my family will need to wait over a week before they can get it special ordered (the main breaker is an old Crouse Hinds MD-A 200A bubble breaker).

Can the MD-A 200A be replaced with a newer Murray MPD2200 safely? Downsides?

Comments/Reviews on Amazon seem to convey that it's no problem, however nobody provided a specific model they were upgrading from, aside from saying "old Crouse Hinds" breakers, and I'm not sure why electricians say to avoid using non-original parts.

I have experience replacing a breaker here and there, and I swapped out wiring within the last few days to sacrifice the disposal for the dishwasher, but I haven't replaced a main breaker before.

Edit: Photo of panel for (some) context

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  • What make and model is the panel? Have you tried contacting Siemens tech support? – ThreePhaseEel Aug 14 '18 at 22:20
  • Only markings I can find from the accessible part of the panel are the UL Class CTL S 443201 tag and then an "SL 10 89" printed below the breakers. Nothing on the door/edges. Maybe that info is behind the meter box panel on the top? – Matt Beckman Aug 14 '18 at 22:46
  • It isn't blind brand loyalty. One breaker make vs. another is physically different in important ways. Brand A does make breakers for brand B panels, but these are specifically made for that and are UL listed for use in brand B panels (only). – Harper - Reinstate Monica Aug 14 '18 at 23:21
  • @Harper -- Murray/Siemens would be the correct replacement for a Crouse-Hinds panel, but there seem to be model-specific weirdnesses going on here....also, apparently Siemens tech support doesn't understand "I'm trying to spec the right thing so that I don't leave an electrician scratching their head holding things that won't fit together" as a reason to call tech support. :P YMMV though, still worth a call that way – ThreePhaseEel Aug 15 '18 at 2:04

The MPD2200 should be correct as a replacement...

The MPD2200 should be the correct replacement main breaker for your panel -- the old Murray breaker factory changed hands a few times before ending up in its current home (with Siemens).

However, be careful here in more ways than one

However, you'll not only need to have your utility cut the power to your house to do this safely (most utilities will not charge for this service during working hours), but you should be quite careful and gentle when inserting the new breaker into the panel, following the directions precisely. Any discrepancy whatsoever in the fit of the breaker to the bussing and interior should not be hacked around, but be treated as time to call in the cavalry (you'll have to call in an electrician and have them call Siemens tech support for advice, I reckon). Furthermore, you'll need a torque wrench calibrated in inch-pounds to tighten the terminal lugs on the new breaker (for the incoming wires from the meter, if nothing else) to their specified torque, as well as for any other uses the install instructions may prescribe (NEC 110.14(D) requires that the breaker lugs be torqued correctly even).

Of course, if you're not comfortable with any of this, calling in an electrician is always an option.

  • Utility already unlocked the meter, so I should be able to pull the meter before any work is begun. The big issue for me is that I'm on day 10 of 50% power loss, and warranty/electrician have taken their sweet time in even putting in an order for a main breaker replacement, and now they want to schedule almost 10 more days into the future. I should have the MDP2200 on Thursday from Amazon, so I will see if I feel comfortable enough to handle it all myself. Thanks! – Matt Beckman Aug 15 '18 at 6:13
  • Following up: electrician showed up early the same day the new MPD2200 arrived (he was ~5 days early from their first estimate). I let him handle it with a different breaker he had ordered, so I don't know if the MPD2200 would have worked. Thanks anyway! – Matt Beckman Aug 23 '18 at 23:14
  • @MattBeckman -- I'm curious -- what did he install for a replacement? – ThreePhaseEel Aug 23 '18 at 23:22
  • Murray type MD-TR. The one I had ordered was an MD-T. I don't the difference between the two. – Matt Beckman Aug 25 '18 at 0:26
  • 1
    @MattBeckman -- the MD-TR has "OFF" on the left with the lugs on the right, while the MD-T has "ON" on the left with the lugs on the right -- it makes no difference for a horizontally mounted breaker like yours, but matters in some configurations where the breaker is mounted vertically (so that ON is up and OFF is down, just like you and the Code expect it to be, no matter if the breaker is mounted lugs-up or lugs-down) – ThreePhaseEel Aug 25 '18 at 0:55

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